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Technology, Science and Beauty Innovation

Donna C. Barson
  • More and more beauty industry growth is being powered by the fields of science and technology, using broader innovations to create and promote new beauty products.
  • An overall trend continues to be the emergence of top-quality products in the mass market.
  • Elements of the body’s own bioelectricity and DNA are now being used to offer antiaging skin care benefits.
  • Eyelash enhancers are seeing a continued popularity, boosting industry innovation in nontraditional areas.

Even though new beauty products are always emerging, there are often only a few that seem to be a catalyst for future innovations. From eyelash growth stimulators to DNA correctors, the continued use of technology in beauty is making it possible to advance the beauty arena further and further all the time. With treatments becoming even more accessible to the masses, these new beauty technologies are setting the trends as the industry moves forward.

Brian Falcone, vice president of sales strategy at Johnson & Johnson Beauty Care, says an overall trend continues to be the emergence of top-quality products in the mass market, especially due to the effects of the economy. Although people are hitting Walgreens, Rite Aid and CVS for their beauty products, department stores and specialty stores still hold an allure because of their renowned brands.

So whether your target consumers pick up their products at Walmart or head to Macy’s for their beauty needs, there are a few trends that continue to emerge no matter where your target market is, and it’s vital to stay on top of these innovations.

Going Electric

Johnson & Johnson recently unveiled what it says is the largest beauty breakthrough since retinol: cytomimic, a technology that uses bioelectricity to fight signs of aging such as wrinkles and dark spots.

Johnson & Johnson is planning a series of products to be released in kits from Aveeno, Neutrogena and RoC that harness cytomimic technology, which combines essential minerals to deliver biological levels of electric signals similar to the skin’s natural bioelectricity. It mimics the body’s natural bioelectric ability to help rejuvenate, repair and renew skin. The kits primarily involve a two-step regimen: first, the application of a serum that contains the bioelectricity technology, and then the immediate application of a cream with ingredients that help activate the serum. Another interesting aspect of these kits is that they will be sold at mass outlets such as drugstores and mass merchandisers, which is part of the continuing trend toward the upgrading of mass products with properties once only available with luxury brands.

The kits are marketed under the following names: the RoC Brilliance kit, Aveeno Ageless Vitality and Neutrogena Clinical. Elisa Bean, senior category manager for skin care at CVS Pharmacy, notes that even though they are similar, RoC targets brightening, Neutrogena applies more to lifting skin and increasing collagen levels, and Aveeno uses natural minerals to improve the natural elastin production. So while the kits are using the same technology, they each deliver a unique result and are able to appeal to different consumers.

Additionally, when you think of the beauty market and electricity, you can’t forget products using physical scrubbers to reveal younger skin. Opal by Clarisonic is popular because it works similarly to the Sonicare toothbrush. It delivers gentle vibrations to exfoliate and transfer antiaging serum into skin.

“Handheld, battery-operated devices that cleanse, exfoliate, firm and tone the skin will continue to be introduced to the market,” says Ron Robinson, an independent cosmetic chemist and founder of, a website that examines a multitude of beauty goods. “These devices may vibrate, oscillate, heat, or use electrical current to provide the consumer with a unique beauty experience, as well as better performance.”

DNA Correction and Repair

Products targeting genes and DNA correction are another hot trend, according to Robinson. “Genes are composed of DNA, which provide the blueprint or code to create and maintain cells. Certain genes such as sirtuins (the youth gene) have been shown to affect the rate at which cells age,” he says, explaining, “There will be more product launches that contain ingredients that claim to change the rate skin cells age, essentially re-programming the skin to look younger.”

Estée Lauder’s Advanced Night Repair is one of these launches. It uses the brand’s proprietary Chronolux Technology to rev up skin’s natural reparative ability during the night. It claims to neutralize up to 90% of environmentally generated free radicals before they detrimentally impact skin’s appearance.

Retinol, and similar agents, also continues to be a powerful agent in fighting the signs of aging. Kits such as the Zo Skin Health’s DNA Repair Program contain a retinol product with a DNA repair complex that speeds up the repair of environmental damage.

Protection for Hair

The latest trends in hair care continue to support in-salon keratin treatments, which remove curl and frizz without the use of permanent straighteners and are safe on color-treated hair.

“BKT, the Brazilian Keratin Treatment, is still wildly popular and increasingly requested in 2010,” says Carolyn Brundage of the website “Having had the treatment myself, I can understand the demand. For women who spend up to an hour in the morning blow-drying, flat-ironing and damaging their hair, BKT is a real multitasker—saving time, hair quality and perhaps even money in the long run.”

Mike Van den Abbeel, a stylist and owner at Mosaic Hair Studio in Orlando, Florida, agrees keratin treatments are a lasting trend and are driving future developments. “These new treatments are temporary, lasting about three to four months, and they slowly fade from the hair. Because they are a treatment and not a chemical service, clients with color and highlights can benefit from this,” he says.

But could keratin treatments gain even more popularity? “We feel once the word gets out on how smooth and frizz-free this treatment leaves the hair, it will become a regular salon service, such as color or highlights are today,” says Van den Abbeel.

Eyelash Growth Stimulators

Latisse ads are everywhere nowadays, and it appears the eyelash growth market is only increasing. The foundation for the product was discovered in the 1930s, and was originally used to treat glaucoma. Patients noticed their eyelashes were growing longer and thicker, and eventually, companies started to promote these products with the ability to grow longer, stronger eyelashes. Latisse is prescribed to treat hypotrichosis, an abnormal hair growth condition, but for those that want better eyelashes, there are, of course, the lash growth benefits associated with using this product.

Latisse has recently come under some criticism because of its active ingredient, prostaglandin, which has been reported to sometimes change the color of the user’s eyes. It also requires ongoing use to work as specified.

“Great eyelashes don’t just happen overnight. That’s why it’s important to note Latisse works gradually, with full results after 8 to 12 weeks,” says Brian Bonanni, MD, an ophthalmologist who specializes in oculoplastic procedures and skin care research, and is also medical director of Gotham Skincare in New York. “If you stop using Latisse, your eyelashes are expected to return to their previous appearance over several weeks to months.”

While Latisse is a prescription-mandated treatment, there are also companies marketing their own eyelash enhancers, such as Activlash and Revitalash. A draw for these products is that you do not need a prescription to acquire them.

Activlash came on the market as a natural eyelash growth product, feeding off the growing organic trend. A plus of this product is that it can be used while an individual has lash extensions, so even while the eyelashes are still growing, the person can still appear to have long lashes. It also includes a swertia herb extract to stimulate the hair root, polypeptides to provide protein and amino acids, green tea and grape seed extracts for antioxidant protection, panthenol for moisturization, and bilberry extract for conditioning. And, unlike Latisse, it does not contain prostaglandin and claims to have no side effects such as eye color discoloration, blurry vision or decreased vision.

“Future trends in the eyelash segment of the cosmetic market will likely center around the addition of new and unique natural ingredients to the existing eyelash conditioning formulas, with the intent of improving the natural look of beautiful eyelashes,” says Michael Brinkenhoff, MD, president and CEO of Athena Cosmetics, which manufactures Revitalash. The Revitalash product is marketed on the basis of incorporating functional cosmetic ingredients with the sole intent of enhancing the attractiveness and beauty of eyelashes, without the requirement of a prescription to treat hypotrichosis.

“In human beings, the powerful attractiveness of beautiful eyelashes has been known by women for many centuries, and it won’t be going away. This is not a fad,” Brinkenhoff adds.

Staying Innovative

Regardless of which products are hot on the market, the future of the industry will likely blend innovative technologies that have awe-inspiring results. Consequently, antiaging remedies will continue to be popular, as will other products that enhance wellness and appearance.

Donna C. Barson, MBA, heads Barson Marketing, Inc., a marketing strategy, research and business consultancy in the personal care industry. For information about Barson Marketing and its proprietary tracking method for this industry, e-mail, or call 732-446-3662.

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